Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has officially opened an 18.5km track from Te Bito to the top of the Falls worth USD 200,000 in Murchison Falls National Park.
The construction was funded by Tullow Oil Plc as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme to support promotion and preservation of wildlife and tourism in Uganda.
The official opening on Tuesday December 6, 2011 was presided over by the minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Professor Ephraim Kamuntu and witnessed by leaders from Acholi and Bunyoro regions, the Executive Director UWA, Dr. Andrew Seguya, the General manager Tullow Oil Mr. Eoin Mekie, the Uganda Tourism Board boss Mr. Cuthbert Baguma and other stake holders in the tourism industry.
The minister who unveiled the plaque and cut the tape to officially launch the historical track, said government will use oil and gas to develop tourism for it to be sustainable. He commended the partnership between UWA and Tullow oil for the construction of the track which will make access to the spectacular Murchison Falls easier from the northern bank of River Nile and attract more visitors to stay longer in the protected area.
The UWA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Seguya said Uganda Wildlife Authority works with the private sector, and the community to promote wildlife conservation and promotion of tourism. He said that given the huge oil potential in the Albertine Graben, which is also home most of Uganda’s national parks,it was critical that all key players in the two sectors genuinely and transparently work together. He hailed the Oil company for the gesture and promised that UWA will continue devising strategies to reduced te wildlife –human conflict.
The General Manager Tullow Oil,Mr. Mekie observed that the new track will provide an alternative game drive through the national park ,giving tourists an opportunity to appreciate the vast collection of animals and plants in the Te Bito plains. The track also provides a shorter access route for the northern bank tourists.
Earlier, the UWA Chief Conservation Area manager (CCAM) Charles Tumwesigye and the head of Murchison Falls National Park,Mr. Tom Okello Obongo gave a brief history of the park and the cultural significance of the track to the people of Acholi and Bunyoro region.